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The Woman in White

The Story Concluded By Walter Hartright
I
When I closed the last leaf of the Count's manuscript the half- hour during which I had
engaged to remain at Forest Road had expired. Monsieur Rubelle looked at his watch and
bowed. I rose immediately, and left the agent in possession of the empty house. I never
saw him again--I never heard more of him or of his wife. Out of the dark byways of
villainy and deceit they had crawled across our path--into the same byways they crawled
back secretly and were lost.
In a quarter of an hour after leaving Forest Road I was at home again.
But few words sufficed to tell Laura and Marian how my desperate venture had ended,
and what the next event in our lives was likely to be. I left all details to be described later
in the day, and hastened back to St. John's Wood, to see the person of whom Count Fosco
had ordered the fly, when he went to meet Laura at the station.
The address in my possession led me to some "livery stables," about a quarter of a mile
distant from Forest Road. The proprietor proved to be a civil and respectable man. When
I explained that an important family matter obliged me to ask him to refer to his books
for the purpose of ascertaining a date with which the record of his business transactions
might supply me, he offered no objection to granting my request. The book was
produced, and there, under the date of "July 26th, 1850," the order was entered in these
words--
"Brougham to Count Fosco, 5 Forest Road. Two o'clock. (John Owen)."
I found on inquiry that the name of "John Owen," attached to the entry, referred to the
man who had been employed to drive the fly. He was then at work in the stable-yard, and
was sent for to see me at my request.
"Do you remember driving a gentleman, in the month of July last, from Number Five
Forest Road to the Waterloo Bridge station?" I asked.
"Well, sir," said the man, "I can't exactly say I do."
"Perhaps you remember the gentleman himself? Can you call to mind driving a foreigner
last summer--a tall gentleman and remarkably fat?" The man's face brightened directly.
"I remember him, sir! The fattest gentleman as ever I see, and the heaviest customer as
ever I drove. Yes, yes--I call him to mind, sir! We DID go to the station, and it WAS
from Forest Road. There was a parrot, or summat like it, screeching in the window. The
gentleman was in a mortal hurry about the lady's luggage, and he gave me a handsome
present for looking sharp and getting the boxes."
 
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